I would do a Youth Rally differently
24 November 2014
In my last two and a half years up on the hill I have been to a few youth rallies. Generally, they’ve been pretty good. A quality band. And good topics.
But they’ve been too “samey” if I can use that as a word.
Every time there is loud music, flashing lights, dramatic talk, someone plays “mood music” on the keys behind as the talk winds down to the altar call. The teen’s emotions are at an all-time high. “Let’s grab them now for Jesus.” Then we lead them into the “salvation prayer” and then we end the session with one or two amping songs again… usually: O Happy Day!
Then the next event, comes around… and then teen who previously gave their life, hears the message, and feels they need to give their life again… and again…
But perhaps we’re toying with their emotions???
Then the guest speaker generally seems to be of the same genre or profile.
They’re successful. They have it altogether. They dress like a hipster, skinnies and the checkered shirt and some trendy rims…
They have a beautiful girlfriend or wife, and life is just so “grand” for them.
It makes me wonder for the misfit teens. The ones that live in shitty circumstances. Where their self-confidence is barely hanging on. Their parents barely make ends meet. They spend the entire week “preparing” themselves to face the massive crowd at the rally. Will she notice me? Will what I wear, be fine?
And the speaker represents success. And that misfit teen… feels so disconnected…
I would do things differently.
The band doesn’t always need to be high profile and flashy. Because sometimes we tend to worship the worship and not the One we’re supposed to be there for…
Perhaps, encourage teens to be still and listen. We’re always making Jesus so LOUD!!!
Could He not be speaking in the quiet?
Then the person upfront. Let’s get someone who doesn’t have it altogether.
Someone who admits they feel insecure. Or that they feel hurt by life’s circumstances. Someone who is not entirely “popular” but simply points the youngsters to Jesus.
(Hear me out, I’m not saying… the speakers I’ve heard haven’t done that. I’m just asking for a change…)
Then after the message has been delivered; DON’T DO AN ALTAR CALL!!!
Yes, you read that correctly. This is how I would do the response time:
“So tonight you’ve heard about Jesus.
You’ve possibly felt His presence here in this place.
You’ve seen around you how others have been able to sing to this God that seems so close to them.
And you may want in on that.
But can I ask you to do this. To wait after the HYPE and EMOTION of tonight has gone.
When you’re at home… before you sleep. On your own. Think about what was said and sung tonight.
If you’re serious about having a relationship with Jesus… then ask Him then and there.
And when you have. The next day, tell a friend or youth leader and / or your parents.
Then the decision you make won’t be made just out of emotion.”
I’d like to hear something along those lines for a change…
One last thing. This is erroneous. We ALWAYS “invite” God to be with us in that place: where we’re singing…
That makes it sound like God is only in some places. That God has fallen into a slumber in the heavens and we need to wake Him and remind Him to attend the youth rally.
Could we not prayer in more theologically correct way?
“God, you are everywhere. You’re in this place. Open our minds and hearts to see and know that truth.”
Now, that resonates with me. Amen
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